Planning for Change

Living Schools Lab logoWhile the Living Schools Lab project has officially closed the CPD webinars, good practice videos and all the resources developed and shared during the life of the two year project are available at

The STEPS planning document, a framework for school development was a guiding template for each school when developing their own in-school ICT integration project or theme.  We slightly adapted it for schools in Ireland and share it here for a teacher to use to help encourage school colleagues to become involved in their own in-school project.  It can be used to help guide the school in the use of ICT to enhance learning across the curriculum.


Although Living Schools Lab may have closed, the community, the network and the results of the project will continue as part of the Future Classroom Lab.  Why not check out its new website?

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Introducing Edmodo (or any VLE) to my students?

8 easy stepsSo, How to introduce Edmodo to your school in 8 easy steps proves to be very popular with readers but we’ve been asked what’s the best way to introduce a VLE to students?

Play to its strengths is what we suggest.  Let the virtual learning platform entice your students into learning and communicating in one easy step.  How?

  • Embed a video, related to a topic you are currently studying, and ask students to watch and then post a comment.

Soon you will be able to show them how to attach a file or photo to their posts.  Then, as they begin to comment on one another’s work they can be given ‘The 2 stars and 1 wish’ commenting method.  This good netiquette habit will encourage them to make two positive comments, e.g. “I liked how your article …..” before, if necessary, making a critical comment, e.g. “I wish you had …. “.

Digital Literacy Teaching Tips
Encourage your students to edit their own work before posting and to check spelling and grammar.  Now that they have an audience this should soon become second nature to them!

Help them to cite their sources, show them how to create a bibliography.  This FactMonster article and free Easybib tool for older students will help.   Easybib helps credit photos, online videos, blogs, as well as the tried and trusted book.

Acknowledging copyright of any photo, video or file they’ve attached or uploaded is important.  How about helping them gather a list of creatve commons websites to use to make it easier to credit the creator?  Why not have them apply creative commons licences to their own work to show them how copyright works in the digital age?

As they develop their skills and post and share their work they’ll become more aware of having to ‘fact check’ their own articles.  Publishing to a VLE will prepare them for the wider internet.  Being able to validate their own articles and arguments will help them look for bias or unsubstantiated claims or arguments whenever they are online.

Want some more Edmodo suggestions?  For 20 more ideas on how to use Edmodo take a look at this slideshare.

Posted in Edmodo, How-to

Whole-school issues

Living School Lab has recently published two reports that will hopefully not only encourage discussion in schools but bring about change in teaching and learning in schools throughout Europe.

A Whole-School Approach to Technology Supported Change is a summary of the Living School Labs results.  Mainstreaming Change in Schools outlines how schools in Europe are are changing and integrating ICT and technology in schools and classrooms.

What teaching practices or ICT integration ideas could be adapted for your school?  It would be interesting to see some suggestions, you could add them to the Comments box below.

Your eLearning Teams will find many ideas and practices in both documents that could be introduced in your schools. Why not share excerpts from both reports at your next Team meeting?

Posted in eLearning Team, How-to, In-school projects, Whole-school planning

Staying connected through eTwinning?

EU FlagIf you enjoy being part of a learning network and want your students to become digitally literate while forging friendships in Europe; eTwinning could be just the thing for you!

On the 15th October Claire Morvan will present a webinar for teachers on eTwinning and the TwinSpace, the safe platform for teachers (and head teachers, librarians, etc.) working in a school in Europe to collaborate and develop projects together with another European school.

Enrol for Claire’s webinar here: and check out all that eTwinning has to offer at  Léargas is the National Support Service in Ireland, (one of the 30 National Services supporting eTwinning) and has lots in information at:

Posted in Uncategorized

News Update

With the upcoming changes for the LSL network and the publishing dates drawing near for the final report, case studies and the CPD course this is a busy time for the project coordinators and partners.

Diana Bannister from the University of Wolverhampton developed the CPD course within the Living Schools Lab project. The course on collaborative school development is targeted to school leaders, head teachers, ICT coordinators, lead teachers, etc. anyone interested in developing the school’s ICT strategy and use, collaboratively. The course will be available as a self-study material for anyone interested. It is based on 10 investigations, and to give you a flavour of an investigation which could be carried out in any school, led by a school leader and a leading teacher see the screengrab of Investigation Two below.

Diana’s recent webinar and slideshare on the course are available at

slide 17 CPD Course

There’s still time to register for Diana’s webinar on final LSL recommendations which will take place on Tuesday 30th September. Enrol at

In the Ireland Hub we held our September Meeting last week and the minutes are available here.

Watch out for news of some of the changes coming our way, all should become clearer in the next few weeks.

Posted in In-school projects, Professional Development, Whole-school planning

What 2 tips would you share?

It’s almost 18 months since the regional hub first came together in DCU. There have been some interesting, positive outputs from you all during that time. If you had to cherry pick just 2 things you’d share with others based on your own school context, what would they be?

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Connected Classrooms

The today carries an inspiring news item for anyone interested in the integration of ICT into education.  The article tells of how through the “Connected Classroom” project four students in Warrenmount Presentation School participated in Maria Broderick’s higher-level maths classes in Coláiste Bríde 10 kms away through a video link-up.

One of the successful Maths students, Avril Watson, explains that Presentation Secondary School Warrenmount had been one of the first schools in the country to receive a 100 Mbps connection under the Government’s schools broadband scheme in 2009 but, until 2011, due to a lack of internal capacity and know-how, little had been done to maximise it. However, that all changed in 2011.

“Our teachers starting using more technology in the classroom; we got a laptop trolley, so communal laptops could be brought around and used by students in different rooms; and we started using blogs, apps and other digital tools in our day-to-day work. Our lessons became more interactive; teachers began using external resources such as video, music and pictures. The curriculum at our school began to diversify.”

Teachers might like to see Maria’s webinar posted here to our blog on April 15th on the practical steps to setting up and enhancing students’ learning through live-link classrooms.  Maria’s advice and tips on suggested tools she found useful will help any teacher, not just a Maths teacher, wishing to create a live-link classroom.

Posted in How-to, Sharing expertise | Tagged , , ,

A New Year Begins

Happy new (academic) year!

The 2014/2015 school year is up and running and the summer holidays feel like a million years ago. I’m in a new setting this year, working as part of my school’s SEN team for the first time. It has been an eye-opener so far and the work is due to ramp up over the next few weeks so it should prove interesting. I’ll also be heading into my second year in DCU so all in all I’ll be kept busy!

As I mentioned in earlier blog posts, as well as introducing iPads to the school we also rolled out Google Apps for our teachers. We focussed on using email for communication initially. This past summer I spent some time playing around with Google Drive. I’ve set up a folder within my Drive that is now shared with all teachers. At our last staff meeting I showed teachers how to access it and upload their own plans and resources. My hope is that over the years to come we’ll build up a substantial bank of material, all freely available to staff members via any device they use. And best of all, it’s free!

I’ll be taking a sixth class maths group this year and I hope to use our school’s ICT resources quite a bit with them. I’m planning some Scratch sessions, and I’ve identified a few apps I’ll use on the iPads with them… more on that in a future post! I also plan to use a few good literacy and numeracy apps with most of the students I’ll be working with.

Posted in In-school projects, Mobile Technology | Tagged , ,

8 easy steps?

8 easy stepsOne of the aims of the Living School Lab approach is to provide easy-to-replicate steps for other schools on ‘how-to’ mainstream the integration of ICT across a school and the curriculum.

During the LSL summer school we tried to capture how a tool like Edmodo was successfully mainstreamed in a primary and post primary school here in Ireland.

How to introduce Edmodo to your school in 8 easy steps could be adapted for a variety of digital technologies.  Could 8 steps like these help you create an active eLearning culture in your school?

Posted in Action research, eLearning Team, How-to, In-school projects, Sharing expertise

first post

Hi all,

My name is Ruth Donald, and I’m a SEN teacher in Mary Mother of Hope SNS in Clonee. I am hoping to introduce Edmodo to our 6th classes (there are 4 of them), and to have it up and running in the next couple of months. Then then next step will be to review and decide when and how to introduce Edmodo to the other class levels, from 3rd to 5th.

Looking forward to being part of the Hub  – thanks to Gráinne and Ciarán for the welcome!


Posted in Action research, In-school projects